Colne 0, Runcorn Town 3
League leaders Runcorn Town came out on top in an end-to-end battle at the XLCR Stadium on Saturday.
Colne made a tentative start to the game and tested the Runcorn keeper Karl Wills with shots by Chris Anderson and a searching 35-yard free kick which had the keeper scrambling at the far post.
But Runcorn looked dangerous with every attack and the Colne defence came under pressure with Marc Young and Neil Harries making outstanding clearances.
The visitors took the lead after 25 minutes when James McShane made a run into the penalty area and curled a shot into the top corner.
The Reds might have been level five minutes later when Adam Stockdale’s fine run and cross split the visitors defence but Nathan Bond lost his footing at the far post as the ball reached him.
Colne were made to pay after 33 minutes when a back pass stuck in the mud and gave McShane the opportunity to fire home Runcorn’s second goal.
The Reds had a chance to reduce the deficit after 38 minutes when Jimmy Crorken’s free kick was spilled by Runcorn keeper Wills and Bond’s follow-up shot was blocked on the line before being cleared.
In Colne’s first attack at the start of the second half, Bond’s header on sent Harries clear for a strike on goal but Wills produced a great save to push his shot over the bar.
As the Reds continued to push forward in search of some reward, a great passing move on the hour gave Bond a shooting chance but his shot was deflected wide off a defender.
Micky Woodvine and Paddy O’Brien worked tirelessly as Colne fought to find a chink in the visitors armour but Runcorn got back in numbers and were quick to close down every opportunity.
After 82 minutes, Runcorn sealed the result when Paul Shanley’s tricky run on the left supplied the cross for Gareth Grant to score at the near post for a 3-0 win.
The Reds are next in action on Saturday, January 4th, when they are at home to Alsager Town, kick-off 3 p.m.